The Pioneer of Medical Instrument Development
Nearly a 1000 years ago Abū al-Qāsim Khalaf ibn al-‘Abbās al-Zahrāwī practised medicine and surgery in Córdova, the capital of Andalusia. (Today's Spain)
He has ben considered the greatest medieval surgeon to have appeared and has been described as the father of surgery.
He devoted his entire life and genius to the advancement of medicine as a whole and surgery in particular. His best work was the Kitab al-Tasrif. He invented most of the many surgical tools, including the scalpel, today we are still using basic mechanics of his invetions worldwide.
Al-Zahrawi's 30 chapter medical treatise, Kitab al-Tasrif, completed in the year 1000, covered a broad range of medical topics, including dentistry and childbirth, which contained data that had accumulated during a career that spanned almost 50 years of training, teaching and practice. It encompassed the entire medical and surgical fields then known and it has been considered the first illustrated scientific text in history.
First Illustrated Surgical Guide
On Surgery and Instruments is an illustrated surgical guide written by Al-Zahrawi. On Surgery and Instruments contributed many technological innovations, notably which tools to use in specific surgeries. In "On Surgery and Instruments", he draws
diagrams of each tool used in different procedures to clarify how to carry out the steps of each treatment. The full text consists of three books, intended for medical students looking forward to gaining more knowledge within the field of surgery regarding procedures and the necessary tools.
Al-Tasrif was later translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona in the 12th century, and illustrated. For perhaps five centuries during the European Middle Ages, it was the primary source for European medical knowledge, and served as a reference for doctors and surgeons.
The 30th Chapter "On Surgery" was the major source for many European surgical treatises from the Middle Ages until the Renaissance and bridged Western and Eastern surgery.
Al-Zahrawi claims that his knowledge comes from careful reading of previous medical texts as well as his own experience:
“…whatever skill I have, I have derived for myself by my long reading of the books of the Ancients and my thirst to understand them until I extracted the knowledge of it from them. Then through the whole of my life I have adhered to experience and practice…I have made it accessible for you and rescued it from the abyss of prolixity”.
We salute all the fathers of surgery and practicians.
Sushruta 600 BCE
Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi 936-1013
Guy de Chauliac 1300-1368
Ambroise Paré 1517–1590
Hieronymus Fabricius 1537–1619
John Hunter 1728–1793
Philip Syng Physick 1768–1837
Joseph Lister 1827–1912
and many more...